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Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin’s observations on his children


Darwin’s observations on his children
Darwin’s observations on his children
CUL DAR 210.11: 37
Cambridge University Library

Charles Darwin’s observations on the development of his children,[1] began the research that culminated in his book The Expression of the emotions in man and animals, published in 1872, and his article ‘A biographical sketch of an infant’, published in Mind in 1877.[2] The full text of the notebook is available below. As with much of his other work, Darwin gathered additional information on the expression of emotions by questioning his numerous scientific correspondents and, in 1867, by preparing a printed questionnaire.[3] He solicited information from those best situated to observe expressions made by children, people of different races, lunatics, the blind, and animals. And as early as 1839 Darwin had begun to collect information on the behaviour of infants from his relatives with young families.[4] However, it was Darwin’s personal experience of fatherhood that was central to his formulation of the questions he was to pursue regarding the nature of the expression of emotions. As the following transcript of Darwin’s notes reveals, he closely observed the development of his first child, William Erasmus, the stages of his development suggesting to Darwin those expressions which are instinctive and those which are learned. This research was ultimately directed towards showing that the physiological expression of the emotions in humans was no different in kind from that exhibited by animals.[5]

The tone of the manuscript reflects an aspect of Darwin’s character clearly perceived by Emma during their engagement: ‘You will be forming theories about me & if I am cross or out of temper you will only consider “What does that prove”.’[6] For in these notes, Darwin’s deep scientific curiosity transcends his obvious pride and joy in his first-born—his ‘Little Prince’ or ‘animalcule of a son’[7] —to such a degree that on occasion he refers to William as ‘it’.

Darwin possessed the ability to dissociate himself sufficiently from his own emotions to enable him to make use of the most readily available resources—in this case his own children—for information on emotional expression, just as he had earlier analysed his own childhood memories.[8] Yet, though the dissociation was essential for Darwin’s scientific goal, the notes here transcribed also reveal the close relationship between Darwin and his children.

Darwin maintained his record of William’s development from the day of his birth, 27 December 1839, until September 1844. Parallels in the development of Anne Elizabeth, born 2 March 1841, were also recorded during this period but in far less detail. By September 1844, Henrietta Emma was one year old, and there are a few entries relating to her. However, at this point the record breaks off until January 1852, by which time the Darwin family had increased by five: George Howard, born 9 July 1845; Elizabeth, born 8 July 1847; Francis, born 16 August 1848; Leonard, born 15 January 1850; and Horace, born 18 May 1851. It appears to have been Emma who resumed the observations on the children, and instead of recording the onset of frowning, smiling, etc., as was the focus of Darwin’s attention on William and Anne, she noted curious statements made by the children and amusing anecdotes concerning them. The emphasis shifts from physiological expression to the association of ideas and the development of logical thought and language.

On 20 May 1854, Darwin again took over the notebook and, with the exception of two brief entries by Emma, made all the notes until July 1856, when the observations ceased. Darwin’s later entries, like Emma’s, focus on the logic exhibited by children and on evidence of their self-perception and increasing self-consciousness.


1[9] W. Erasmus. Darwin born. Dec. 27th. 1839.—[10] During first week. yawned, streatched himself just like old person—chiefly upper extremities—hiccupped—sneezes sucked, Surface of warm hand placed to face, seemed immediately to give wish of sucking, either instinctive or associated knowledge of warm smooth surface of bosom.— cried & squalled, but no tears— touching sole of foot with spill of paper, (when exactly one week old), it jerked it away very suddenly & curled its toes, like person tickled, evidently subject to tickling— I think also body under arms.—more sensitive than other parts of surface— What can be origin of movement from tickling; neck, & armpit between the toes are places seldom touched but are easily tickled—the whole surface of the sole of foot is toouched constantly.— so is the resting place of body but the latter is by no means sensitive to tickling—nor are ends of fingers, or surface of limbs—but back bone is.—

1v. Hiccoughing is convulsive movement, caused by irritation, of same muscles, which depress diaphragm, so as to allow gas to escape from stomach.— A person trying to liberate air from stomach inspires voluntarily in same manner, as that stronger instinctive movement which causes hiccough.—

2 At his 8th day he frowned much. & I believe earlier—now his eyebrows are very little prominent, & with scarcely a vestige of down,—therefore if frowning has any relation to vision, it must now be quite instinctive: moreover vision at this age is exceedingly imperfect.— At his 9th day however he appeared to follow a candle with his eyes.—

In crying, frowns & contracts whole forehead. & wrinkles skin about eyes, just like older child— opens its mouth wide, & utters crys in reiterating or sobbing manner. NB. I find bad crying, chiefly connected with resperative function.—convulsive movements of chest ؟ is sobbing abortive crying & shouting?.— It is very singular movement of muscle of face which accompany real crying, coming before formation of tears.—

2v. The Baby started certainly during first fortnight at sudden sounds. & at Emma’s moving

3[11] When one month & one day old. perceived bosom, when three or four inches from it, as was shown by protrusion of lips—& eyes becoming fixed— was it by smell or sight?— it wasnot, certainly, by touch

When little under five weeks old, smiled, but certainly not from pleasure, but merely a chance movement of muscles, without a corresponding sensation.

Dr. Holland[12] informs me children do not learn to blow their noses, or clear their throats, till several years old: curious; since so many analogous actions are performed instinctively. (good contrast) from earliest days.— such as[13]

3B Long before 5 weeks old. it was curious to observe expression of eye during sucking change. into vacancy & then into a swimming expression, with half closed eyelid. Like drunken person. Curious eye being so imperfect an organ of vision.—being used as means of expression. I have no doubt this rolling of the eyes is connected with a tendency for them to turn upwards & inwards as in sleep.[14]

Six weeks old & 3 days, Emma saw him smile—not only with his lips, but eyes.— Thinks he directed his eyes towards her face & after looking at her attentively, smiled—

Annie smiled about the same time  Henrietta smiled at 3 weeks & Mrs Locke says a fortnight[15]

I have never yet seen him fix his eyes at anything, except light:— does not know my face or knuckle from bosom.—

Little frowns continually cross his face, when feeling uncomfortable, before whole face is wrinkled in act of crying without tears.

3Bv. In dry crying—wrinkles & depresses eyebrows, wrinkles skin on nose, & draws up under eyelids into strongly marked line—opens mouth.,—closes eyes—

4 Six weeks & four days. smiled repeatedly, & I think chiefly when suddenly seeing face. of mother. & mine; I think was once attracted by noise towards a certain point. — Has no definite power in using its hands.— Made for first time little noises to itself.—

Henrietta also just at the same period or a few days earlier— Nov. 8[16]

When seven weeks old, his eyes were attracted by a dangling tassel & a bright colour. This was shewn by his eyes becoming fixed & the movements of his arms ceasing. Emma argues that his smiles were from seeing her face, because a tassel dangling did not make him smile— it is afterwards remarked that his smiles generally, or at least very frequently are merely from an inward pleasure, with no relation to anything external.[17] The day after this he was not quite well & did not smile the whole day, which shews I think that the smiles on the previous days did express pleasure. The movement of his arms I have before said appeared to be without any object, but this exception must be made that from his earliest days he could easily find his way to his mouth with his hand, when 4v. he wanted to suck.

Annie at 2 months & four days had a very broad sweet smile & a little noise of pleasure very like a laugh.

5 Nine weeks old— During the last week & more it is remarkable how his eyes have brightened when smiling.— often accompanied by a little noise, approaching to a laugh.—

During the last few days he has sometimes winked & started at objects suddenly

seen, at other times he takes no notice of an object moved close before his eyes.[18] Two days ago it appeared to me from a change made in the little noises he was uttering that he recognized Emma by sight when she came close to him to nurse him.

His smiles as yet are not directed to any particular object, but express merely a feeling of pleasure. Three days ago when he was being washed & was naked I took him gently in my arms which made him scream violently, which 6 could only have been caused by the novelty of the situation producing fear. Emma thinks that when he was vaccinated today the crying of the other child set him crying again  He does not easily catch a person’s eye & is not easily attracted

by noise. In crying I think the under lip is more turned down than it used to be giving an expression of misery. A frown gives the first notice that he is going to cry. Feb 27. 1840

When nine weeks & three days old—whilst lying on his back cooing & kicking very happily.—I happened to sneezed—which made it start, frown, look frightened & cry rather badly— For an hour afterwards, every noise made him start,— he was nervous.— I think he certainly has an undefined instinctive 7 fears— for instance when stripped naked— I think also when passing under dark doorway.— When hurt, & when first waking & stretching the blood rushes into his face.— After the above violent crying fit, his eyes were suffused, with tears,— but I have not subsequently during the last two weeks noticed it—& I had one good opportunity, when he was hurt by my coat rubbing his eye, which made it water & he cried violently, but no tears came in other eye— This was when he was eleven weeks old.[19]

Now eleven weeks old take hold of his sucking bottle with right hand,—when nursed either on right arm or left— He has no notion of clasping it with left hand, even when it is placed on body— this baby has had no sort of practice in using its arms.—

His crys are become various. the hunger cry is different from that of pain.—

Hardly any sobbing,—but the quick taking breath after each scream approaches it.—

8 Between 11 & 12 weeks old in smiling. I observe he wrinkles his nose considerably— I suspect he has done this for some time.—

I observe he uses his left hand a little— The turning down of corners of lower lip, expressing misery, now very strongly marked— it could be distinguished long since— it seems like a struggle between closing his mouth & opening it for cry of pain.— it generally expresses. annoyment at being kept from suckling.— is not present when screaming from pain

When one day under 12 weeks took hold of Catherines[20] finger with his right hand & drew it into his mouth.—

9 Now exactly 12 weeks & on following day old clasped his bottle with left hand, just like he did formerly with right hand— Therefore his right hand is at least one week in advance of left.— I say at least for I am not quite sure, the first time he used his right hand, was observed

12 weeks & one day  whilst violently crying from pain eyes became charged with moisture, but not enough to run over

April 11th. It appeared to me that the Baby decidedly looked at my finger, which it took in its Hand.

April 16th. The Baby can now put any object into its mouth with some skill.—

I observe when taken out of 10 doors, & being annoyed by light frowned very much & almost closed its eyelids  Some weeks ago, when sucking some coldish milk, which it disliked, kept little frown on forehead, just like old person, when doing something disagreeable. say 50–60 days old 7 or 8 weeks old

Continues occasionally to roll his eyes in drunken manner, whilst sucking.—

April 16th. Was exceedingly amused by his pinnafore being put over his face & then withdrawn.— I think for some weeks pinching his nose & cheeks was a joke— How can he find bo-peep amusing?[21]

9v. {A person abstracted, & insane person in vacant stare, lifts up & wrinkles lower eyelids.—

11[22] April 19th. Knew Anne,[23] most plainly, even when seen at the distance of two or three yards; was exceedingly amused at Bo-Peep, and as often as my face approached his, gave a broad smile, and made a noise somewhat different from any that I have hitherto heard, resembling in a small degree, a laugh; the noise resembled that kind of O, or bleating which he has very long made, when comfortable, but apparently modified by the form of his open and smiling mouth, and likewise by a kind or sob, or interruption, almost the same as that which makes the bleating noise.— The pleasurable sounds appear always to be those of expiration; can noises, expressing pain, be modifications of the O, of pain and surprise, which, it is easy to see, are those of inspiration.—

12 April 20th.— Took my finger to his mouth, & as usual could not get it in, on account of his own hand being in the way; then slipped his own back & so got my finger in.— This was not chance, & therefore a kind of reasoning.— It has, perhaps, a little instinct in it, in the same way as very long he has had tendency to move his legs, as if walking & not both together, when held up.—

A pasteboard box, with comfits, being rattled near his face, invariably blinked his eyes violently, & started a little. It was the sound did this, for he quite disregarded anything moved before 13 his eyes, even at much shorter distances.— In ordinary start, although I believe he blincks his eyes, the movement of body & of arms, as if catching hold, is the prominent movement. He never could have learnt from experience to close his eyes very suddenly from sudden noise near his head.—. If it had been experience he would have done it, from visible object— This blinking of eyes, I dont doubt instinct to protect eyes.— I think he has acquiredhabit 14 of closing eyes gently, from being washed, whenever the hand is passed slowly over naked head from crown over forehead.????

May. 1st.— During the last week has shown decided pleasure in music.—his whole expression appearing pleased.— Recognizes Emma Anne & myself perfectly— does not find object with his eyes, from hearing it with much facility.— Seems often to look at its own hands or other object, when quite close. Seems very happy. chief 15 employment, looking about & playing at games such as bo-peep.— Has during last few days, made new noise of pleasure.—a gentle expiration, with mouth & glottis almost closed, so as to cause an intermittent hissing & bubbling noise.— I fancy he trys to imitate, or rather answers any noise, by its own.—

When getting in a passion, which he often does—the blood gushing into whole skin scalp of head, is almost the very first symptom— I cannot well distinguish. crys of 16 of real pain & passion.— The former seems invariably to induce passion.— After crying fit yesterday I observed his eyes were just suffused with tears & became red.

May 9th.[24] A watch held close to face, he extended his hand to it— Had made feeble trials for two or three days before.— He connects sight with a tendency to move his arms. The object must be as close to his eyes as his own arms are to them, when moved, otherwise he has no idea of moving arms towards it.— —He moves his arms when the muscles of the eyes act in turning them to near focus.—

15v. At this period he had ceased trying to catch of hold of distant objects, but when one was so near, that his two eyes were turned towards it with the same inclination, as when looking at his own hands, then he was led to endeavour to catch hold of it—

17 May 10th. I made loud snoring noise, near his face, which made him look grave & afraid & then suddenly burst out crying. This is curious, considering the wondrous number of strange noises, & stranger grimaces I have made at him, & which he has always taken as good joke. I repeated the experiment.

May 13th. Unexpectedly I came to him, with my back to him, & then stood motionless,—he looked very grave & surprised, & would almost have cried had I not turned round, when his face relaxed into smile. These vague fears, curious.—

Squints at any object placed within foot of face & makes efforts with hand, which are sometimes & but rarely successful.—



      Anne’s weight
Jan 20 the baby 3 weeks & 3 days old. 6lb – 13oz   lbs   oz
Feb 3rd. 5 weeks & 3 days. 7lb – 10 4wks 7 – 9½
Feb. 17 7wks & 3 days 8 – 5 6wks 8 – 4
March 3 9wks & 4 days 9 – 7 8 & 4 days 9 – 6½
Mar 20 12wks old. 10 – 14½    
April 4 14wks & 1 day. 11 – 12    
May 16 20 wks 14 – 15    
June 30 25½ — 15 – 14 Jan. 19—  
July 9 17 – 6 19lb Bernard[26]
Oct 28 — 1st – 6 – 8    
Henrietta 17 days— 7 lb 3.oz[27] weight of clothes 1lb
Wed Oct 11        
Mon Oct 23 a month old. 9lb 11oz clothes 1lb 10oz½
    1 – 10½    
    lb 8–”½oz    

18 May 13th. Three or four days ago smiled at himself in glass— how does he know his reflection is that of human being? That He smiles with this idea, I feel pretty sure— Smiled at my image, & seemed surprised at my voice coming from behind him, my image being in front.

May 15th.— After violent crying fit, tears enough to flow over eyelids. Sobbed, convulsive effort in drawing breath between screams.—

The baby’s weight Jan 20.[28]

May 17 The baby shewed a decided wish to go to Anne when she was looking at him lying on the bed.

19 May 30th— During last ten days he has sobbed very much after bad crying fits.— The sobbing came on rather suddenly & now every bad crying fit is followed by it.— During last week has shown considerable association of ideas.— He understands, when his cloak is on, he is to go out & is cross, if not taken immediately.— He can now generally catch hold of any near object & draw it to his mouth.—

During last week, when cold water put in mouth & more especially some rhubarb, he made expression of disgust very plainly, accompanied (& made very comical,) by look of surprise & consideration in his eyes, not knowing what to make of it.— The expression is accompanied by form of mouth—allowing what is in the mouth to run out.—

20 When he receives any little hurt, it is curious to see the way instantly the corners of his mouth are deeply depressed—eyes suffused, very slight frown & face a little reddish, no cry shows offended feeling.— When he is in passion from not getting his milk sufficiently soon, there is no tendency to turn down corners of the mouth.— I believe however in bitter crying &screamit fit, lower lip is turned down nearly in same manner, but from mouth being open, the corners do not then appear so much depressed or lip arched.— I think he understands compassionate expression.—

Cannot balance himself when seated hardly at all yet.— just over 5 months

20v. June. 5th—10th.— Showed a decided preference for certain faces. before others,—for instance Carolines & Aunt Bessys. rather than Uncle Jo’s.—[29]

21 June 15th. Doddy[30] said “da”

— 16th. Smiled at large half-size oil painting of his great-grandmother.—[31] Mistook, I think, for living person

17th. Played with his own feet

19th. tried to have a watch to play with.— Patted me with his hand

June 27th.— Six months old.—

July 1st. Shuddered with disgust, at piece of cherry being placed in his mouth. He did this some little time before.—

8th. Made a melancholy face, by depressing corners of mouth, when Anne pretended to cry

10th.— When looking at mirror, was aware that the image of person behind, was not 22 real, & therefore, when any odd motion or face was made, turned round to look at the person behind.

10th. On this day, when into a passion with a Lemon, because when wet, he could not grasp. it.—

July 26th. Knew the paper in which the Naples biscuits were kept.

Turned round to look for Anne, when she was called.—

29th. Cried at the sight of Allen Wedgwood[32] Is able to catch hold of a finger.—

August 13th. Caught hold of my hand, when I placed it on his stomach. He is not able to follow a swinging object with his eye.— Can sit on floor.—

21v. Towards the end of July. seemed puzzled at seeing me first through one window & then through another.— did not appear to know. whether it was reflection in mirror or reality.

August 19th.— Playing with hair-brush, soon learnt, that the hairs pricked, but could hardly resist touching it, & pawed at it, like dog at a hot coal.—

23 Septemb. 23. When one says to him, “where is Doddy?”. turns & looks for himself in looking-glass.—

October 2d. He was aware that the shadow of a hand, made by a candle, was to be looked for behind, in same manner as in looking glass.—

Octob. 5th. Knows the word “fire” & looks toward it, as often as word is repeated

Octob. 29th. Pulled something, he did not like, out of his mouth with his forefinger

— 30 During last fortnight tried to imitate me, when I made noise, by patting my mouth, during emission of sound

November 2d. In imitation, made sound closely resembling “poor”

24 November 15th. Stared much at uncoloured engravings at Gower St.[33] & even at small miniature. of Aunt Bessy; & always looked in that direction, afterwards, when words “pretty Lady” were repeated.—

26th. Cried, when Emma left off playing the pianoforte.— Did this so often & showed such decided pleasure, as soon as she turned round to go back to Pianoforte. that, I am certain, there was no mistake.—

Decemb. 8th.— Doddy has learnt to put out his lips & keep his head quiet, when he is told to give a kiss.—

During last week has got several times in passion with his playthings, especially when the right one has not been given him— When in a passion he beats & pushes away 25 the offending object— He continues to enjoy music exceedingly, & even when very cross is brought into ectascies by it— He learned in very few, not more than three or four times to know the word music, & I think he sometimes showed he wished for it, before we anyway suggest the idea to him.— He now understands a good many things, & will associate almost any sentence with some object if repeated two or three times at intervals. He tries to imitate simple sounds, as “ball”.— He learned to smack his hand & then very carefully to prick the palm of one with his little blunt finger, when the rhyme of Batter-cake—was repeated to him. 26 He looks very much pleased, after the performance any of these accomplishments. He evidently studies expression of those around him, especially if anything new is done before him.— He is able only just to totter a yard from the wall to a person’s open arms.

Dec. 14th. During last week has learnt to shake one hand & cry “ah” at the Coal Box, or any water,— He will remember from one day to another the object he has been told to say “Ah to”.— During last month will try to spit anything out of mouth, when told to do so.—

Dec 27th One year old.

Dec 30th kissed himself in the glass & pressed his face against his image very like Ouran Outang[34] When could not take up drops he protruded his mouth to do so.—[35]

25v. Feb. 20th. 1842. Anny (, same age) has learned to shake her hand at coal box but not to scold at it—[36]

27 January. 1841. When eight months old, & for some time previously—whenever excited, more especially when pleased he wrings his hands & arms, something like the theatrical representation of grief, in the same manner as I have been assured I did, when very young.—[37]

Nothing has struck me more in his intellectual developement, compared with puppy, that the great quickness of associating any two things together, after they have happened even only twice or thrice together

Jan. 8th. After Anne had been away for half the day, he kissed her on first going into her arms, two or three times, without any hint having been given her.— He is very fond of kissing himself in the looking-glass,—a habit he continued for some months

Jan 12th. He observed, & gave cry of recognition at seeing the image of himself in the pupil of my eye.— I feel sure there was no error in this—

26v.[38] Jan 8th— Doddy kissed Anne, on seeing her  often kissed self in glass

Jan 12th— observed image in eye.—

19th— found paper—held it out for me to burn

21st—seemed uncomfortable when I said Doddy naughty—wont kiss—put out lips after I had gone to my chair—

26th. Specimen of passion  cake in mouth—Anne take it by mouth—

31st Did not like my saying wont kiss Doddy

Feb 16th Walked half across room

27v.[numbered ‘p. 28 A’] In January or earlier, he ceased crying for food, but instead cries “mum”—his word for food & to this word he gives the most strongly marked interrogoratory sound at end— xx (ie. by inspiration at close of sound) stronger sound than that which one ordinarily gives to ‘what?’— It is very curious interrogatory note thus coming, as it appears, instinctively.— He gives the tone of exclamation to the cry of ‘ah’. Which he chiefly uses, & at first, I think, exclusively used, when recognizing any person or his own image in glass.— xx analogous to cry for food of nestling-birds, which certainly is instinctive & peculiar to that time of life.—

28 Jan 19th. He is very fond of seeing pieces of paper burnt, this day he found one & held it out to me & pointed towards fire, clearly suggesting what he wanted.

Jan 21st— I repeated several times in reproving voice. “Doddy wont give poor Papa a kiss,—naughty Doddy”. He unquestionably was made slightly uncomfortable by this, & at last, when I had returned to my chair, protruded lips, & shook his hands in rather angry manner, & made me come & receive a kiss— A week afterwards appeared certainly annoyed, when I said “Iwont give Doddy a kiss.”— The first case showed something like first shade of moral sense.—

About this time was fond of pretending to be angry & giving me a slap. with a scold, & then insisting upon giving me a kiss as reconciliation.

29 Jan 26th. Has for some time often gone into passions for smallest offences,—for instance with Anne the nurse for trying to take piece of cake from his lips with her fingers, when he wished her to take it with her mouth out of his mouth..— He tried to slap her face, went scarlet, screamed & shook his head.— How has he learnt that slapping tends to give pain,— like the just-born crocodile from egg, learns to snap with its weak jaws,—ie instinctively—

Feb. 16th— Walked by himself from one sofa to other on opposite sides of drawing room— Enjoys walkings— A chief amusement is making a bubbling noise, by pulling his lips clumsily with his fingers—

28v.[39] Anny was to day March 1st 1842 rather amused, at a wafer sticking first to one hand & then to the other as she tried to disengage it & I remember Doddy about the same age, grew frantic with passion at a bit of wet paper thus sticking to his fingers— Anny has infinitely less observation & animation— She now hardly understands a person coming up behind her when she is standing in front of the Glass, & looking at her image— She perceived her image in the polished case of my watch.—

29v. March 1st 1842— Anny says Papa pretty clearly—[40] A few days ago Emma gave her doll, but she sensibly shuddered, when it was brought near her & would not for some days touch it. March 18th. Annie walked loose about four feet, walked well & says goat.

M. 23d. Has been accustomed to see the keys taken out to go to cupboard & tea chest for good things, & the keys being given her today to play with in farther part of room, she immediately led Emma by the hand towards the tea-chest. I never saw anything like her passion for some time past to see pictures & to look at living dogs & cats. Her taste for pictures has been stronger than Doddys, but her taste for Music decidedly less.— Doddy, however, has now long quite lost taste for Music. (continued on page after next) [31v.]

30 Feb. 20th. [1841]— Was amused & laughed out, at my protruding my cheeks & making grimaces, without any accompanying sound.—

March 17th— Got on his legs on a open floor—

April 15[41] Jealous of—a doll— for last fortnight jealous of Annie few days ago jealous of my weighing Baby

May 6th.— he said pretty & Papa for a week past perfectly clear

Feb 1842 I have long observed that the horse-shoe lip of misery is the endeavour to keep mouth closed just before it opens wide for a roar.— Doddy frowned in looking intently at a new toy across the room.—

30v. (a) People, I think, do not frown when looking at distant object ever so intently.— I have observed during last two months, how curiously Doddy expresses by a modulation of humph of assent “Yes to be sure“: As he formerly used to express by a negative whine “No that I won’t” or rather a sort of defiance as much as to say “if you do so,— I will do so”— I suspect many expressive modulations of tone, come to children before appropriate expressions for their feelings—

31[42] In Janry. 1842 it was first perceived that Willy began to stammer—the words that appeared to be most difficult were “Doddy and Papa”. he had previously been able to talk with fluency & it came on quite suddenly.—[43]

On the 13th. of March Emma positively ascertained that what the Nurses had asserted for several weeks was the case, viz. that Willy perfectly recognized the Street Door. the onlydifference between our door No 12 and No 11 is in the slit for the Letter box.— he decidedly ran past No 11 and turned to go up the step at No 12 saying “this our door” without having been able to see the slit.—

March 18th. On my return from Shrewsbury after 10[44] days absence, Doddy appeared slightly shy,— I can hardly describe how this was shewn, except by his eyes being slightly averted from mine. He almost immediately came & sat on my knee, kissed me, & was then 32 much excited. Younger children, such as Annie now a year old, look at people with a degree of fixedness which always strikes me as odd— it is like the manner older people only look at inanimate objects— I believe it is, because there is no trace of consciousness in very young children— they do not think, whether the person, they are looking at, is thinking of them.

March. 20th. Doddy amuses himself by gabbling nonsense words—he has learned them from my sometimes changing the first letter in any word he is using—thus I say after him instead of “rub my lumps” “bub my crumps” &

31v. March 29th. 1842.— I have some months remarked how much Anny wrinkles up her nose in smiling or half laughing— this she did very early, more so than Doddy, & certainly with her is a more essential part of a smile, than the play of the muscles round the corners of her mouth.

March 29th. She has just taken to gabble nonsense words,—

33 March 20:th.— 1842 Doddy is a great adept at throwing things & when choleric he will hurl books or sticks at Emma. About a month since; he was running to give Annie a punch with a little wooden candlestick, when I called sharply to him & he wheeled round & instantly sent the candlestick whirling over my head.— He then stood resolute in the middle of the room as if ready to oppose the whole world.— peremptorily refused to kiss Anny, but in short time, when I said “Doddy wont throw a candlestick at Papas head” & he said “no wont— kiss Papa”— I 34shall be curious to observe whether our little girls take so kindly to throwing things when so very young. If they do not, I shall believe it is hereditary in male sex, in the same manner as the S. American colts naturally amble from their parents having been trained.—

Doddy’s observant nature is shewn by his daily telling, more than six weeks ago, everyone without omission to have pudding, when their meat was finished, 35 & to take a crust, when their pudding was finished.— Elizabeth[45] remarked him careful politeness at meals towards his guests, was like his granpapa the Doctor.—[46]

March 23d. Doddy looking at full-face likeness of Isaac Walton in frontispiece of the Angler,[47]—said “like papa looking at Doddy” & then changed it into “like papa laughing at Doddy”.— The plate is not at all like me, but it has the faintest smile about the eyes & is a full face.—

36 March 26th 1842 2 years & 3 mth— Doddy was generous enough to give Anny the last mouthful of his gingerbread & today (27) he again put his last crumb on the sofa for Anny to run to & then cried in rather a vain-glorious tone “oh kind Doddy” “kind Doddy”—

April 2d. Emma had left her handkerchief on the other side of room, & asked Doddy to bring it, to which he pithily answered “wont”— I then said, “poor papa must”—upon which he cried “no no” & ran very eagerly to bring it.—

35v.[48] March. 26th.— D gave Anny last bit of gingerbread—& today 27th.—put last crumb on sofa & said “kind Doddy”—

Anny sniggers nose for long time past, levator nasi— d[itt]o Mar 29th. gabbles dabber babber.

April 2d. Doddy used bit of stick as lever to break doll—

37 Doddy having this kind of instinctive feeling of fear, that most quadrupeds, except those somewhat like animals to which he is accustomed, as strange varieties of Sheep, the Nyl-gau,[49] & a burmese pony; whilst he had no fear of any bird, though large, like the ostriches & noisy like the gulls.— This fear has certainly come without any experience of danger or hurt, & may be compared to young mice trembling at a cat the first time, they see one.— During the succeeded, he was constantly talking of the Z. Gardens & wished very much to go again & see the birds, but not the “beast in house”.—

37v.[50] May 1. 1842. 14 months old It is curious to see how neatly Annie takes hold in proper way of pens pencils & keys.— Willy to present time with equal or greater practice cannot handle anything so neatly as Annie does, often in exact manner of grown up person.—

March 1st. 1843. Annie shows no signs of skill in throwing things either as an amusement, or as an offensive act, in same ready way as Willy did: nor does she so readily gives slaps.—

38 April 4th——42. Willy’s observation on dress very curious: Emma put on a pair of boots, which she had not worn for some time & he instantly observed them; as he likewise did the first day she had her hair in curls.

May 5t. When Willy was at Maer, & I had not yet come there; he several times repeated “poor Papa at home” & turned down the corners of his mouth[51]

June 1st. 1842 Observed the first day I put on a new dull-coloured trowsers. Emma one morning put on an unconspicuous bonnet of C. Langton,[52] W. instantly observed it knew whose it was. I took some artificial flowers & dressing them with fresh leaves, stuck them in the ground to observe if the Bees, wd look at them.[53] Willy across whole length of Maer flower garden perceived them, said they were not Dziver’s (Elizabeth’s) flowers. ie were not natural, but that Papa had made them. On looking 39 closer he said “from Mammas cap,” which was true. He immediately also spied a drop of honey, as large as pin’s head, which I had put at bottom of each flower.—

During last fortnight has shewn much suspicion (his characteristic) & could not endure anyone laughing, thinking it directed at him. He has lately been very contradictory; by mistake he one day graciously gave Elizabeth a kiss, but repenting said “Doddy did not kiss Dziver” & when Elizabeth remonstrated by saying “you may be sorry for it, but you did kiss me”. He stuck to it, “no Doddy did not”.

Aug 26th.. 1842 About a fortnight ago, I met Willy coming out of Dining Room, with an unnatural brigtness of eye & an odd affected manner, “so odd that I turned back to see if any one was hiding behind the door”— I then found out by marks that he had been taking the powdered sugar 38v. which he had once or twice he had been told he ought not to do— Now these singular grimaces & expressions not to overlooked, certainly was not fear, for he was not afraid, but a kind of conscience. This day I met him coming out of dining room, with his pianofore folded up carefully & he eying it— I asked him what he had got there: he said “nothing” looking all the while to see that his pianofor was well folded & as I came nearer he cried “go” “away” “Doddy going to send” “go away”— from his odd manner I determined to see what was concealed, when I found he had stained with yellow pickle his pianfore, when taking pickle, like he had done sugar.— Here was natural acting & deceit.

39v.[54] Jan. 20 1843 Willy 3 years & a month. Charles looking at a print of the Dr Willy instantly recognized it & said good old Grandpapa what did he give Willy? Sugar?” alluding to the sugar candy. It is 6 months since he saw him, remembered having carraway seeds in biscuit at Shrewsbury. Finding birds nest at Maer, throwing spoon in the water & speaking of the railroad he said “Sometimes it do be dark” & then mentioned the bell ringing. None of these circumstances have been mentioned to him since I believe. Threw some cards at my head for alluding to something he used to say when a baby.

40 Feb 1843. Willy says “No” in the fiercest way possible unlike any other child I ever saw[55]

Sep. 1844. Annie 3 years & ½ was looking at a print of a girl weeping at her mother’s grave I heard Willy say. “you are crying”. She burst out laughing & said No I aren’t it is only the water coming out of my eyes. Her face was red & eyes full of tears. She seemed to wish to excite the emotion again & went on saying Poor Mamma Poor Mammy. Willy then seemed to find it rather melancholy & said. Is her Mamma really dead? Has she got no nurse? About a year ago after Bessy[56] had been gone a month Willy lying in bed said suddenly Mamma Willy is so sorry40v. for poor Bessy.— the water is coming out of my eyes.” But he seemed puzzled at it & did not know why he was crying. About 3 months ago at Maer when he went with me to Etruria[57] as soon as his things were putting on to go, he began the most bitter cry for fear Annie should be unhappy without him, & when we were set out he began crying again anxiously enquiring whether she would be unhappy. It was the more kind hearted of him as she had been out to Betley[58] without him a few days before. He continues to have the same peevishness that he has always had at 41 intervals & now keeps on saying “Don’t you like Willy to cry one bit? Nor speak cross? & today he said about his coat which he had been scolding about. Do you think I had better not speak any more about it?.

Annie shews much more feeling for imaginary sorrows than for real ones. She can’t stand Little Robert & the Owl[59] but says “He must have somebody to take care of him.” on the point of crying, however I was glad to see the other day when Willy was in some trouble that she came to me anxiously to help him & was very angry with me for not understanding her quickly.

41v. Obstinacy is her chief fault at present. Whenever she hurts herself when we are present Willy appears not to mind, & sometimes makes a great noise as if to distract our attention but when they were alone the other day it was quite different. He first attempted to comfort her very nicely & then said he would call Bessy & she not being in sight his fortitude gave way & he began to cry also.

Henrietta just a year old has only 3 teeth & cannot walk alone though she is very near it. She does not understand very much of what is said to her though she looks very wise.

42 Willy sometimes tries a little ruse to prevent Annie wishing to have his apple or asking him to change “Yours is larger than mine Annie.”

Jan. 1852 Lizzy 4½ years old.[60] She has always had the oddest pronunciation possible. When first she began to speak she added an s to the end of every word “Ettis & Bettis &c afterwards all the ws were turned into b’s. Bettys going to bosh Betty’s hands.” Betty’s going to the kitchen bindow to botch Margaret come in from the bosh. “Will you go Betty?” Betty bill. Now her phraseology is quite peculiar. “There was no more till two huntsmen today, but one day I saw a flock of those.

42v. “I put those in my pocket”. I can do it myselt.” Looking at herself in the glass “What a pretty ded pace”. “Us goed dawn to the willage”. Fish for Smith. Kaw for cow. &c. Lenny[61] 2 years old speaks perfectly correct except that he lisps. He says Thiff for fish. When telling her a story or if she is observing any thing she has the most curious way of playing with any dangling thing she can get hold of sometimes twiddling her fingers as Charles used to do. Aug. This has grown into a great habit of abstraction going by herself & talking to herself for an hour. She does not like to be interrupted

43 5 yrs old “Oh Franky[62] you had better put down that great stick. I hurt myself once, but that was when I was crite a little girl ‘member.

“What are all those gella things sprouting out of the sun?

Lenny 2½. On hearing Sarah[63] was unwell. “Is Sally too sick? She must have a bit of praster—she must. Eating a gooseberry. That goobery does make me so good. Charles takes him upstairs to tea every evening. & he says you mutht go down to the dawing you mutht. One day Charles wd not go so he said I am going—I are—

Lenny telling a story. Once there was a little boy—what was he called. & once there was another little boy—what was he called

43v. Papa— Lizzy come & stay here. — Shant stay here. People say I’m man’s— stay in man’s room.

Papa. You have’nt got wrinkles because you are not old.

Lizzy No I’m not a drop old

Aug. 52 Franky 4 years old. with some nuts. F. (to Papa) I’ll give you lots of nuts— I’ll give you one— I’ll give you half the inside— It was so little I eat it all up.

Lenny 2½ Aug. 52. To Papa “Kiss my face (which was done pretty handsomely) “Oh By Jo 5—6—ten kisses!!

Lenny After a bit of mischief (insinuatingly) Are I a good boy—are I good boy? (no answer) (indignantly) I are.

44 Lenny. I’m a good boy you mustn’t thmack me now—

Lenny— You mustnt kiss all my kisses—

I came down stairs with nobody, with my body.— Many bones. You a big body. I’ve got a little body— Don’t you like my little body?—

The children were discussing at dinner which of the cousins they liked & Franky said as if it was a discovery. I like Georgy.[64] All the party agreed they liked Georgy which made him grin & look very modest. Another day Franky said all in a glow “I do so like you Georgy do you like me?

44v. Lenny. nearly 3. May I have it for my own? No— I may have it for my little own. (its my great big own (a ladder.) When asking to stay in the room—”I’ll let you alone”—

Lizzy 5½. I –get what the –ginning is –splain it to me— How –licious that orange is –gin at the –ginning. that story about –lina & –phia or else –ladin.

At dinner Parslow.[65] Shall I cut up your potatoe. Lizzy after a pause “Yes Parslow. I’m ‘sidering.”

Lenny in an indignant tone when reproved for being cross “I was only talking.

45[66] Lenny 3½ Eastbourne.[67]

Papa— Well Lenny how do you like Eastbourne  L. (nodding towards the sea) I like that pond best  where will they put it to when we dig in the sand? When rhodomontading. It’s only my nonsense.

I felt something hard in my bed Certainly it was not my [!]—.[68]

When particularly cocker he leaves out the last syllable. “May I have a turn(ip). Come into break(fast).

May I have a teeny weeny little bit of sugar, may I

Is this tomorrow?

Georgy very little. I’ve killed my father & mother & don’t know where to find them.

About 6 lying on the rug. I said, my boys are not fond of reading. G. I hate reading—I like drawing & money.

Lenny.. The donkey did not snap me one single bit when I stroked him.— That cow will bite.

45v. Aug 22 6 yrs old Lizzy coming out of the drawing room rather indignantly “I’m so dull. There is only horrid beastly boys in the drawing room”.

Lenny’s idea of great age. He was 23 & he never goed to bed at all.

Lenny talking in a melancholy way when I was washing his face after being naughty. I shall have my tea without any milk in it. I think I shall never go out at all.

He scraped 2 little bits of skin off his wrist  he thought Papa did not pity him enough & nodded emphatically at him. “The skin’s come off—& its lost—& the bleed’s coming out.”

He asked Jane[69] for some milk. “I will presently.” He came close up to her “Janey you ought to do what a child says to a maid.[70]

46 Horace[71] 2½. G. When shall you wean baby. H. I am weaned for there’s no more milk.

Lenny comparing his paint brushes “Did you think it was the quite awfully big one” Yes. “No it is the awfully big one

Papa. When any body thinks every body cross it is a sign he is cross himself. You remember that Lenny. L. after thinking sometime: Papa I shan’t remember that. One day he came in the study very quietly. “Papa Janey has given me a dreadful hurt—a most dreadful hurt. Once he asked me Is it awfully best to do something.

Papa Oh Bony[72] I shd never forgive you if you break that. Lenny. But Papa you ought to forgive me if I do.

46v. Horace seeing one of the huntsman not in a red coat. That one is not painted

Lenny “Is the sky a sort of nowhere?

Papa. Give me a kiss. Lenny. Are you clean P. Yes. L. Are you really clean. P. Yes. Well I will then.

Lenny trying to amuse Horace (crying  Baby I said I”d got a bit of horizontal bread & butter.

Lenny cross & crying “Papa I think I’ve got a stomach ache. P. Poor Bony. Turning to him indignantly “I only said I thought I’d got a stomach ache

Miss Th.[73] asking Lizzy won’t you have a bit of bread with your egg? 47 “I’ve told you 100 times that I don’t want any thing with my egg.

Miss Th. Shall I cut up yr meat? L. I don’t care whether you do or not.

Lenny 4½ coming in all over mud up to the eyes. Papa “Oh Lenny what have you been doing? L. I’d rather not tell you.” P. Do tell me what you have been doing? L. Must I? Then I shan’t.—

P. Why Lenny you must be washed in a tub of cold water. L. Awfully?—Papa,—yes— Then I shall cry.

L. I’ve opened the window the atomest bit.

looking thro’ that red thing unbetters me. (looking thro’ a bit of red glass at the garden)

47v. May 1854. Before tea Ch. asked Lenny P. Have you had your tea? L. Yes I have. P. Are you sure you have? L. I don’t know— a pause— Yes very awfully I think I have.

Lizzy, “Georgy is such a soldiery boy  he never goes a riding—& he never speaks to a single girl—

Georgy to Franky. Are you glad there is such a boy as me in the world— F. Yes I am tremendously glad. I shall never do any thing without you.

Lenny in bed when Papa looked at him without speaking. “You may give me a kiss if you like”.

48[74] May 20— 1854.— I saw a pile of sand lying on the lawn, & said “Oh Bony who put that there, I suppose you & Baby did.” I don’t forget that we did do it,— very much I think we did not,— at least I know we did not”.

“If it rains for 4 days, all the tanks will upset”. (ie overflow)

“I am a beautiful boy for opening the door, every day, every day in my life”

Papa—”Bony, Bony I am afraid you are a little coward” He rebutted the charge with indignation, saying— “But I was reallyreally frightened”.—

48v.[75] Lenny lying in bed— “You may have a sweet kiss— Oh so sweet— (as he continued kissing) Don’t they come sweeter & sweeter?

Lenny hammering the gravel-walk,— I said “Don’t knock up the walk”— “I am not (going steadily on) I am knocking it down“.—

I said “Lenny you have been cutting the pencil with my scissors”. “But I could not help it”— I said “Lenny you cd help it, don’t say that”. “I could not help it a little bit.— really—really, I could not help it awfully”.—

49 June 1854— About 9 months ago, Lenny defined being in good spirits as “laughing, talking & kissing”.[76]

June 6— 1854. Lenny after quarrelling with Horace, “I feel that I shall never play with Baby again,—never, in all my life”—(In half-a-minute in full romps.)

June 27th. Lenny. “Papa I have coughed awfully,—many times awfully—five awfullys—and more too,—so may’nt I have some black stuff?” (ie liquorice)

49v. July 25th[77] /54/ Horace struck Lenny with a rake & Lenny after a bad cry, said “I shall never love you again in all my life”. But when Baby said “oh do”.—Lenny answered “I meant I should” & then gave him a kiss.—

Nov. /54/ Whenever Emma or I came home from a journey, Lenny has come up, in a very pretty manner, & has said “I want to tell you something” & then in lowest whisper asked us whether we had bought him anything as a present. We had rather laughed at his always begging; so when I came home yesterday, he did not ask for anything, but only remarked in a very sweet & sympathetic manner. “Do not you wish, that you had bought me a drum.”?— Dec. 55. This time the hint was more gentle “Did you buy anything for yourself”? with marked emphasis on yourself.— May 56. Again more gently. “Did you go into many shops?”

50 One day, whilst walking round Sand-walk, Lenny came & said to me he had seen, Huntsmen in red coat & white breeches jumping over the Hedges &c &c. I said “Oh Lenny you can have seen nothing of the sort”, when he answered with utmost coolness “Well then I heard them”. Afterwards on again remonstrating with him on telling such a Burster (as he wd. call it), he answered, “Well then I will tell you what I once did see really,” “Once I saw a steam Engine &c &c”— so that he thought one true story would exactly counterbalance one fib.—[78]

One day I heard a great shout on the stairs from Lenny; & Franky run to know whether he had had a bad fall; when Lenny gravely reproved him, saying, “I only thought I had hurt myself.”.

50v. Lenny about 3. “My hunions (ankles) are so unclean. (looking at his muddy legs.[79]

Lenny,— “It sometimes happens that I am happy”

— “I bets that is a rum thing”, the bet being offered to Horace

Lenny. When ill with Fever & recovering (Dec 1854) used constantly to ask in the prettiest voice, “what we advised him to have to eat.” One day I advised him to have tea, instead of an orange; so immediately after having had the latter, he said to Bessy “now for the orange, for Papa advised me 50b [unnumbered by CD] strongly, very strongly, to have an orange”.

It was the prettiest thing in the world to see the first smile coming so excessively slowly, after about 16 days illness, when I purposely mistook a picture of a girl for that of a Boy.

When very ill, when the Doctors wanted to hear the action of the Lungs, whilst speaking, I asked him how he felt, & he answered so pathetically “I cannot explain”.

Feb 1. 1855. Lenny asked me “Will you play at beggar-my-neighbour with me, because if you won’t, you must.”—

50bv.[80] Horace 3 yrs old walking with Bessy in London saw a very little boy smoking a cigar “Look at that fellow how well he does it.”

Lizzy 7 yrs old. Settling how many boys she would have only one “I hate boys they are so plaguy tricky & bothersome.” Do you think that physic does make me any gooder[81]

April 10th: In the morning whilst I was shaving, Lenny kept on talking to me so I said, “Lenny I cannot talk whilst I am shaving”— “But you can talk, when you are unshaving”.—

Lenny kept on bothering me by asking 51 me over & over again, “where his Picture was”, & at last I scolded him & told him to be quiet, when he immediately asked “but where do you thinkit is”. And when I said “why Lenny you have asked me again”—he answered in a very injured tone “no I have not, for I have only asked where you thought it was.—”

Ap. 20. 1855— Lenny having a cut glittering glass in his hand, proposed with a very sharp pleased look to put it on the Sun-Dial, “for perhaps it will make it go quicker”—& when I laughed, he asked “why what then does make the Dial go?”.

51v. Lenny was tumbling over the sofa & breaking all rules & when I said he must not do that, He answered “well then I advise you to go out of the room”.—

Lenny came to me, very discontented about his luncheon, & when I suggested Bread & butter, with one shoulder up, he answered, “but I am so awfully used to bread & butter”— in fact he was fishing for ginger-bread.—

Baby asked him to do something “I can’t I have my own business to do”.—

Lenny going to do something to a flower said. “I’ve a fact to do”

52 June 11./55/ Lenny came with a piece of rag & said quite gravely. “Now, papa, the Devil is how shall we divide this?—that is the job.”—

I gave Lenny a shilling yesterday, & he thinks himself extremely rich, so he came to me this morning, at my working time, when he knew there was very little chance of my coming out, & said “Well then, if you will come & stop with me on the lawn, whilst I burn the touchwood, I will give you sixpence”.—

Lenny told me he had only one frock, & I asked how that was. “Why I went to the sand-walk, & of course I went down into the hole to play, &, (was it not foolish of Jany?) I spoilt my Frock.”—

52v. June 19th /55/ Lenny found for me before Dinner a new Grass, so he said. “I are an extraordinary grass-finder, & I must keep it particularly by my side all dinner-time”.

July 5th. “Here Papa there is something above everything”. viz his old & hurt nail had come off, with the new nail below.—

July 24th “Papa I will tell you the nature of these sort of persons (meaning himself & Horace who were making a horrid mess) they like going into the mud.”

1856. May 21. Lenny lying on my lap, coolly said “Well you old ass” & being very slightly shocked, remarked “Really, I did not mean to spurt that out”.—

53 July. Lenny’s Logic.— “Papa I saw an immense great Hawk flying. I am almost certain that there were two”.— “Why”— “Because one may havegone first”.—

[1] The observations are in DAR 210.11.1, a vellum-covered notebook inscribed with the initials of CD’s Cambridge friend Albert Way.

[2] Collected papers 2: 191–200.

[3] See Freeman and Gautrey 1972 for the text of CD’s queries about expression.

[4] See Notebook M, pp. 53, 58, 96, Notebook N, pp. 37, 121, (Notebooks) and loose page of notes in DAR 210.17.

[5] See Browne 1985a and 1985b. See also Autobiography, pp. 131–2.

[6] Correspondence vol. 2, letter from Emma Wedgwood, [23 January 1839].

[7] Correspondence vol. 2, letters to T. C. Eyton, [6 January 1840], and Robert FitzRoy, [20 February 1840].

[8] See CD’s autobiographical fragment of 1838 (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix III).

[9] The sheets of the notebook were numbered on the recto by CD and these numbers are printed in bold in the transcript. For the sake of clarity, the verso pages that were written on by CD are also numbered in the transcript although they are not numbered in the original MS. In general, CD left verso pages blank for later notes, but occasionally the text continues on from the recto page. Pages have been transcribed in the order in which the editors consider they should be read. CD’s alterations and annotations to the text are recorded at the end of the Manuscript alterations and comments section.

[10] William Erasmus was Emma and CD’s first child.

[11] The first paragraph on this page was written in pencil by CD and subsequently overwritten by Emma Darwin. The transcription throughout attempts to reproduce CD’s original pencil text as closely as possible.

[12] Henry Holland.

[13] CD wrote ‘such as’ in very tiny letters at the bottom of this page.

[14] ‘I have no doubt . . . sleep.’ was written on the opposite page (3v.) with its position in the text indicated by the symbol ‘X’.

[15] ‘Annie . . . fortnight’ was written by Emma Darwin on the verso of page 3 and opposite the preceding passage about William smiling; ‘Henrietta . . . fortnight’ is in pencil. This note and subsequent interpolations relating to Anne and Henrietta were added considerably later; Anne Elizabeth was born in 1841 and Henrietta Emma in 1843. Mrs Locke was probably the monthly nurse who attended Emma after the birth of Henrietta. The name and address of a Mrs Locke are noted in Emma Darwin’s 1843 diary.

[16] The following text to the end of 4v. is in Emma Darwin’s hand. The preceding sentence was added in pencil by Emma.

[17] ‘Emma . . . external.’ was written on the opposite page (3Bv.) by CD and its position in the main text indicated by the symbol ‘X(a)’.

[18] The preceding sentence and the following text to ‘Feb 27. 1840’ on page 6 is in Emma Darwin’s hand.

[19] ‘After . . . weeks old.’ was added on the opposite page (6v.) with the symbol ‘(a)’. The corresponding symbol in the main text is interlined following ‘instinctive fears—’, but for clarity the addition is transcribed at the end of the section.

[20] CD’s sister, Emily Catherine Darwin, who stayed with CD and Emma Darwin between 21 March and 2 May 1840 (Emma Darwin’s diary). If Emma Darwin’s diary is correct, there is something wrong with CD’s reckoning since Catherine arrived at Gower Street the day after the baby was twelve weeks old. The most probable explanation is that CD counted only 3 days in December, rather than 4, and 28 days, not 29, in February (1840 was a leap year) when calculating William’s age (see, for example, the alteration notes for p. 9).

[21] The preceding paragraph was written in pencil.

[22] The text on this page is not in the hand of CD or Emma Darwin. It was probably dictated by CD and written by Catherine Darwin during her stay at Upper Gower Street (see n. 20, above).

[23] Anne was the children’s nurse.

[24] The remainder of this page and the opposite page (15v.) were written in pencil.

[25] The details on this page were written by Emma Darwin.

[26] This note (in pencil) by Emma Darwin must have been added on 19 January 1877, when Francis Darwin’s son Bernard was nineteen weeks old.

[27] ‘Henrietta . . . oz’ is in CD’s hand in pencil. The rest of the page was written by Emma in pencil.

[28] This sentence and the next paragraph were written by Emma Darwin.

[29] Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, Elizabeth (Bessy) Wedgwood, and Josiah Wedgwood II. According to Emma Darwin’s diary, the family arrived at Maer Hall, home of Emma Darwin’s parents Bessy and Josiah Wedgwood II, on 5 June 1840. They remained in Staffordshire and Shropshire until November.

[30] Doddy was a pet name for William Erasmus Darwin.

[31] Possibly the portrait of Sarah Wedgwood, wife of Josiah Wedgwood I, by Joshua Reynolds, 1782 (Wedgwood and Wedgwood 1980, facing p. 34).

[32] John Allen Wedgwood, vicar of Maer.

[33] The family had arrived back in London the previous day (CD’s ‘Journal’; Appendix I).

[34] See Notebook M, p. 129 (Notebooks).

[35] ‘Dec 30th. . . so.—’ was written by Emma Darwin.

[36] This note was added by CD in pencil on the facing page and subsequently partly overwritten in ink by Emma Darwin. It is preceded by the symbol ‘(a)’, and there is a corresponding ‘(a)’ in the main text above ‘shake one hand’ in the entry for 14 December (p. 26).

[37] This paragraph and the subsequent paragraph were written in ink by CD over some text in pencil which had been erased, but of which a few words remain visible.

[38] The text on this page was written in pencil and is a summary of pages 27, 28, and 29.

[39] The text on this page was originally written by CD in pencil but subsequently was overwritten in ink by Emma Darwin. The text is preceded by the symbol ‘(a)’, with a corresponding ‘(a)’ following ‘Jan 26th.’ in the main text on page 29.

[40] ‘March . . . clearly— ’ was originally written in pencil by CD then overwritten in ink by Emma Darwin.

[41] This entry and the remainder of this page and the following page (30v.) were originally written in pencil by CD and subsequently overwritten in ink by Emma Darwin.

[42] This page down to ‘able to see the slit.’ was not written by CD or Emma Darwin. It is perhaps in the hand of Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood who, according to Emma Darwin’s diary, stayed at Upper Gower Street between 12 February and 16 March 1842.

[43] Stammering ran in the Darwin family. See Notebook M, p. 25 (Notebooks).

[44] ‘March . . . after 10’ was written over a previous note made by CD in pencil. The original note read: ‘March 18— Nonsense words— shyness with me—’.

[45] Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood, Emma Darwin’s sister.

[46] Robert Waring Darwin.

[47] Izaak Walton’s The compleate angler; or the contemplative man’s recreation (1st ed. 1653).

[48] The notes on this page are in pencil.

[49] The nylghau or nilgai is a large Indian antelope.

[50] The text on 37v. and on 38v. was written in ink in CD’s hand over heavily erased text written in pencil by CD. Only the odd word of the original pencil text, apparently a summary of pages 38 and 39, is still clear.

[51] Emma Darwin and the children went to Maer on 3 May 1842; CD joined them on 18 May (Emma Darwin’s diary).

[52] Charlotte Langton, Emma Darwin’s sister.

[53] CD’s observations on the flower garden at Maer and the role of bees in pollination, made in the summers between 1840 and 1842, are in DAR 46.2 and DAR 205.5: 53–4.

[54] The text from here to the end of 47v. is in Emma Darwin’s hand.

[55] This note (by Emma Darwin) is in pencil.

[56] Bessy was a nursery maid in the Darwin household (Emma Darwin, 2: 80–1). According to Freeman 1978, her full name was Elizabeth Harding, but no source for this information is given.

[57] Emma Darwin’s brother Francis (Frank) Wedgwood lived at Etruria Hall, originally built by Josiah Wedgwood I near his Etruria pottery works. Emma Darwin visited there on 31 May 1844.

[58] Betley Hall, home of the Tollet family.

[59] A children’s story by Mary Martha Sherwood, a popular author of strongly evangelical stories and tracts. In her old age, Henrietta Litchfield noted that ‘Little Robert & the owl’ was one of the first books that she could recall encountering as a child (H. E. Litchfield papers, CUL).

[60] Elizabeth Darwin, born 1847. She was always referred to as ‘Lizzy’ as a child but later was usually called ‘Bessy’. She seems to have been a slow and awkward child and is mentioned only rarely in the correspondence and family memoirs and reminiscences.

[61] Leonard Darwin, born 1850.

[62] Francis Darwin, born 1848.

[63] Sarah was presumably a servant at Down House; Sally was probably her familiar name.

[64] George Howard Darwin, born 1845.

[65] Joseph Parslow, butler at Down House.

[66] The text on this and the following page down to ‘bed at all.”’ is in an unusual and unsophisticated hand. Some entries in Emma Darwin’s diary dating from the same period as these notes appear to be in the same hand. One such entry, made on 22 July 1853, the last of a series of similarly written entries, records: ‘thumb better | bad for nearly a week.’ This suggests that this strange hand might be Emma Darwin writing with her left hand following some injury to the thumb of her right hand.

[67] The Darwin family stayed in Eastbourne from 14 July to 4 August 1853 (de Beer ed. 1959a, p. 13).

[68] An attempt was made to obliterate this sentence with red crayon and ink.

[69] Jane was a maid at Down House.

[70] When recording her recollections of her childhood, Henrietta Litchfield remembered Leonard Darwin saying this to their maid Jane and further noted: ‘Leonard was our main favourite. For one advantage he was much the prettiest, but he also had a great charm of simplicity & a sense of personal dignity. . . . There must be a book of his sayings somewhere in the family archives, but who possesses it, I do not know.’ (H. E. Litchfield papers, CUL).

[71] Horace Darwin, born 1851.

[72] Leonard Darwin’s nickname.

[73] Miss Thorley, governess at Down House.

[74] From this page on the text is in CD’s hand.

[75] This page and the following page down to ‘in full romps)’ was written in pencil. Emma Darwin has written over CD’s original text in ink down to ‘talking & kissing”.’ As far as is possible the original pencil text has been transcribed and any alterations by CD have been recorded.

[76] CD used this observation in Expression, p. 212, where he stated: ‘I heard a child, a little under four years old, when asked what was meant by being in good spirits, answer, “It is laughing, talking, and kissing.” It would be difficult to give a truer and more practical definition.’

[77] This entry down to ‘kiss.—’ was written in pencil.

[78] See Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix III, for a transcription of CD’s autobiographical fragment written in 1838, in which he remarked on how he enjoyed telling lies as a child.

[79] This note is in Emma Darwin’s hand.

[80] This page down to ‘bothersome.”’ is in Emma Darwin’s hand.

[81] This sentence is in an unidentified child’s hand.

About this article

The text has been adapted from The correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4, Appendix III. Darwin’s notebook is in the Darwin Archive of Cambridge University Library (DAR 210.11: 37)